Hope on the Brink: Understanding the Emergence of Nihilism in Black America

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9781620327579: Hope on the Brink: Understanding the Emergence of Nihilism in Black America

African Americans have always wrestled with hopelessness. Yet in the face of hopelessness, African Americans fought for hope that America can be a land of equality, opportunity, and justice. The fight for hope has been difficult and has taken a toll on African Americans. Today the signs of hopelessness abound in black communities across the nation as an increasing number of leaders express concern about a pervasive problem that they could not identify. Beyond the continuing injustices and inequities linked to systemic racism, they recognize a growing internal apathy in African Americans. This internal apathy is nihilism, the embrace of nothingness, meaninglessness, and internalized oppression. Nihilism has been slowly emerging since the 1980s and is the reason there is an increasing number of blacks who turn to defeating and destructive behaviors that only worsen their plight. In nihilism's wake, leaders and communities are left trying to help people who have turned on themselves and abandoned hope that things can get better. The first step toward hope requires an understanding of hopelessness. Only then can we step into a world that pushes people to the brink and hope to make a difference. Hope on the Brink offers an exploration into this hopelessness.

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About the Author:

Lewis Brogdon is Assistant Professor of New Testament and Black Church Studies and Director of the Black Church Studies Program at Louisville Seminary. Brogdon has served churches in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio. He has coauthored an article with Amos Yong on ''The Decline of African American Theology? A Critical Response to Thabiti Anyabwile'' in the Journal of Reformed Theology, and recently published an essay on ''African American Pentecostalism'' in A Handbook of Pentecostal Christianity.

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''By weaving together complex ideas, from the history of Christian witness and modern theology to the struggle of Black folks to overcome the visceral pain of slavery and racism in America, Brogdon has laid the foundations for a comprehensive and passionate treatment of one of the greatest problems in Western culture, piercing the very heart of Black communities across the nation. . . . Hope on the Brink should become standard reading in seminaries, colleges, and universities across the nation.''
--Johnny B. Hill, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Claflin University

''In this book, Lewis Brogdon explores the idea of nihilism with a nuance and depth that is sorely needed in the church today. . . . [A] truly fine piece of scholarship and ecclesial reflection on a significant issue.''
--Stephen G. Ray, Jr., from the foreword

''This work is a vital read for those who desire to see the African American church and the communities we serve move out of the malaise that has captured us and kept us from thriving socially, spiritually, and economically. The hard issues and harsh realities tackled by Brogdon will not easily work themselves out nor go away. Moreover, it is encouraging to find a young man with the heart of both a pastor and a scholar who is willing to do the hard work to engage with honesty and clarity.''
--Estrelda Alexander, President, William Seymour College --Wipf and Stock Publishers

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